Melee Combat

Combat often comes down to a close-quarters sortie, especially in a world where guns are universally illegal for civilians. Gentlemen practice the swordsmanship of their forebears, thugs learn the scuffling strategies that keep them alive on the street, adventurers practice a variety of ancient methods of self-defense: the only individual that can afford to completely ignore combat training is the one that can hire a bodyguard.

Unarmed Combat

The sometimes noble practice of hand-to-hand combat is a proud tradition among some and an unfortunate necessity among others. Perhaps the greatest advantage of training in unarmed defense is always having one’s weapons at hand.

On Attack Types When attacking an enemy whilst unarmed in melee, the attacker first chooses an attack. Any attack reliant on brute force rolls the dice and adds fast-twitch musculature as the basis of the attack. Any attack reliant on graceful and rapid movement rolls the dice and adds motor skills as the basis of the attack. The target of the attack may then attempt a reflexive action, such as a block, or a dodge if they have enough actions left in the round to do so. Unarmed attacks deal a base 0 damage, which is not the same as no damage. Attacking with two limbs in one round applies a -2 modifier to both attacks, as is standard for multitasking.

Targetted Attacks To target anatomy, the enemy being attacked must possess the appropri- ate anatomy. Therefore, ghosts cannot be affected by targeted strikes, even when manifesting as a wight, whereas zombies can. Automatons do not possess a natural vulnerability in their heads, and thus do not take additional damage from face-punching. Unarmed attacks have a manipulation modifier of 0, meaning a specific area or small target may be selected as the target of the attack without a penalty.

Special Considerations When fighting unarmed, a character puts his hand or foot in peril. If a character punches a swinging weapon, as in an untrained or failed parry while unarmed, the character takes weapon damage to the hand. Likewise, blocking a weapon with one’s arms causes the arms to take weapon damage, which is useful for shielding the vital organs but less so for stopping a claymore.


Another option at melee range is to attempt to grapple with your opponent. To attempt a grapple, you must know a grappling maneuver or be attempting to simply get hold of your opponent, then you roll fast-twitch vs. fast-twitch to see if you get your hands on the opponent, then slow-twitch vs. slow-twitch to see if you overpower them. On success, your target suffers the intended effect. An untrained grapple renders them unable to move but leaves them able to act, whereas trained grapples may render them completely unable to act or be used to initiate a throw. A throw is a fast-twitch roll, which, on success, propels the target a short distance. Upon landing, they must pass a roll to land safely by rolling, which is motor skills based, or take 1 damage. Some particularly damaging throws, such as a pile driver, deal 2 damage if the target fails their roll. To attempt such a technique, one must have relevant martial training and take a roll to throw the opponent (fast-twitch) at -2 in addition to all other relevant modifiers.

Armed Combat

Armed combat is the use of a weapon of melee to harm an opponent. This process is largely dependant on which weapon is being used, but the rolls for such attacks share the same structure in the system.

On Weapon Types When using a light weapon, such as a knife, rapier, or wakizashi, the
attack roll is based on a roll of the dice plus the character’s motor skills modifier. The motor skills roll is used because the weapon is sufficiently light that strength is not the determiner of its accuracy, rather, it can be manipulated with coordination and grace.
When using any other weapon, the largest determiner of its ability to reach its target is moving faster than the target can evade. For this reason, a fast-twitch musculature roll is used.

Targeted Attacks Armed attacks that attempt to target specific areas apply the weapon’s
manipulation modifier to the roll. This reduces the attack roll when attempting to strike small targets, representing the increased difficulty of wielding a bulky weapon with accuracy.

Dual-Wielding Using a weapon in each hand applies a -2 modifier to both attacks, as is
standard for multitasking. To wield two longswords, a slow-twitch score of at least 3 is required. To wield two broadswords or axes, a slow-twitch score of at least 4 is required. To wield to claymores, a slow-twitch score of 5 is required.


Hitting an enemy in the eye or jugular with a blade is instant death. These attacks are made at -2 in addition to the manipulation penalty, use the motor skills modifier, and require one round of observation during which an intellect roll must be passed to recall the anatomy necessary to target a vital point in a deadly fashion. Instant kills make the two rounds and difficult roll well worth the effort for the learned and dextrous combatant.

An armored opponent is immune to this effect in the areas covered by armor, and so the armor must first be bypassed in some manner, such as cutting the straps free or burning a hole through via glowing green acid.

Assassination is not possible against mechanical creatures, ghosts, or zombies. Assassination attempts against large creatures, like a carnotaurus, require a weapon with a reach of at least 2 feet in order to reach the brain through the eye, making a knife insufficient for the attempt. Assassination against any target that is not human is made at an additional -2, for a total of a -4 modifier to the attack roll.